CVRD needs to talk more about the estuary re-zoning issue

CVRD needs to talk more about the estuary re-zoning issue

It's short-sighted to ignore what may happen in 10-15 years

CVRD needs to talk more about the estuary re-zoning Issue

We’ve heard ecological and economic concerns expressed for and against the re-zoning of the estuary for heavier industry. Consider this from the perspective of climate and the economy.

Fisheries, agriculture and tourism represent the best economic potential for the Cowichan Valley, especially Cowichan Bay and Estuary. Fisheries, particularly shell-fishing, were virtually wiped out of Cowichan Bay by pollution. I’m told that Cowichan Bay was once a sports fishing Mecca and regular haunt of famous people such as John Wayne and Bing Crosby. With cleanup, fisheries and tourism in Cowichan Bay could be rejuvenated into multi-million dollar industries. But tell me, have you ever heard of such activities anywhere in the world centered around a major heavy industry in the very heart of an estuary? Clearly, no, and that’s where CVRD should focus in this re-zoning issue, along with a future dictated by climate change.

We cannot now avoid at least 2 degrees Celsius of global warming in this century. Melting of the Greenland ice sheet accelerated 15 years ago to double its rate of the 1990s, and apparently has quadrupled in the last 5-10 years. Translated to Cowichan Bay, that means a minimum of 2 metres rise in sea-level in this century, 7 metres if all of that ice sheet melts. But sea-level rise is not the immediate concern for Cowichan Bay. Rather, it’s ocean surges that will occur when a major storm hits, which would wash over and wipe out industry on that artificial island in our estuary. That will happen at any time from here on, and likely within the next 10-15 years. The resulting mess would also destroy our chances for a return to the fishery, and would prevent any tourism revival.

The potential for a fishing industry and tourism, should be high priority for CVRD in this ‘re-zoning gamble’, for gamble it is. They should first consider how much in the short-term that this industry would improve our economy. Short-term that is, because in the long-term there will be virtually nothing to consider, and by then your fishery and tourism will be lost.

Geoff Strong

Cowichan Bay

Cowichan Valley Citizen